**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread**
Jul 27, 2013 at 12:07 PM Post #11,701 of 22,065

egokun

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The dip in the region of female vocals on the HE-400 is crazy.
 
I used to find female vocals recessed on my HD558. But yesterday, I listened to a song with the HE-400 and then, out of whim, tried the same song with the HD558 and BOOM! The vocals were right in my face.
 
The HE-400's speed, impact and separation are something else (the Sennheiser sounds bloated and congested in comparison), but damn, there's no denying that dip in the upper mids.
 
If it's true that they tuned the HE-400 to sound "more American", there's little doubt I'm an "Euro/Japanese" sound type
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Jul 27, 2013 at 12:21 PM Post #11,703 of 22,065

nicholars

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Quote:
 
I don't have the fr graph in front of me but if these headphones have a "suck out' in the midrange wouldn't you bump that range up a bit and then bring down the spike in the treble? Am I thinking of the fr graph for the rev.1 of the 400? Are both versions of the 400 suppose to have the suck out in the midrange or just the first? Thanks.


I tried messing with the midrange and it just sounds wrong to me.... I found the best thing is a slight increase in sub bass below 80hz and a dip of about 5db in the treble. The "sucked out" midrange does not actually sound that bad to my ears... It kind of gives a "speaker like" effect.... Where the music sounds like it is coming from the room instead of the headphones.
 
Jul 27, 2013 at 12:40 PM Post #11,707 of 22,065

jmsaxon69

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I tried messing with the midrange and it just sounds wrong to me.... I found the best thing is a slight increase in sub bass below 80hz and a dip of about 5db in the treble. The "sucked out" midrange does not actually sound that bad to my ears... It kind of gives a "speaker like" effect.... Where the music sounds like it is coming from the room instead of the headphones.


It's called depth....
 
Jul 27, 2013 at 1:43 PM Post #11,711 of 22,065

KLJTech

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I was just listening to "Alison Krauss & Union Station - Paper Airplane" (24/96 HDTracks) and when switching back and forth between the 400's and my K701's the 400's lack some of the midrange "presence" (breathiness) that the K701's have in spades. The thing is, that can be said about a lot of great headphones when compared to the K701's. That being said, "to me" the HE-400's sound like the more overall balanced headphone of the two AND (this is important) I can wear them for more than half an hour without the headband causing me pain. 
 
I thought about paying the $300 more for the HE-500's yet when I asked someone with whom I respect in the Audio business (a name we all know) that has a ton of experience with both the 500 and 400 he said that the 500's have a "shoutiness" to them..."that the 400's don't shout at you." He went on to say that BOTH headphones are good, one is good in one way and the other is good in another way but obviously neither is perfect. That pretty much sums it up, rather than chasing the rabbit down the hole its probably best that we simply enjoy our music and try and stop worrying about the gear. Spending too much time being concerned about your gear prevents you from enjoying the MUSIC.
 
Jul 27, 2013 at 1:48 PM Post #11,712 of 22,065

M-13

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Quote:
I was just listening to "Alison Krauss & Union Station - Paper Airplane" (24/96 HDTracks) and when switching back and forth between the 400's and my K701's the 400's lack some of the midrange "presence" (breathiness) that the K701's have in spades. The thing is, that can be said about a lot of great headphones when compared to the K701's. That being said, "to me" the HE-400's sound like the more overall balanced headphone of the two AND (this is important) I can wear them for more than half an hour without the headband causing me pain. 
 
I thought about paying the $300 more for the HE-500's yet when I asked someone with whom I respect in the Audio business (a name we all know) that has a ton of experience with both the 500 and 400 he said that the 500's have a "shoutiness" to them..."that the 400's don't shout at you." He went on to say that BOTH headphones are good, one is good in one way and the other is good in another way but obviously neither is perfect. That pretty much sums it up, rather than chasing the rabbit down the hole its probably best that we simply enjoy our music and try and stop worrying about the gear. Spending too much time being concerned about your gear prevents you from enjoying the MUSIC.

This is probably why you should try to listen yourself and not rely on others, no matter how much these guys claim to be "experts". Who is this he-who-should-not-be-named expert?
 
Shouty means resonance in the treble Upper-mids. That's the usual definition most people use here on Head-Fi. The HE-500s have a very clean CSD, like the HE-400 and there is no ringing, resonance/shoutiness to them. As a side note the mids of the HE-500 make the K701 mids sound thin and veiled. The HE-500 has the best silky treble I've heard, which includes all the phones in my profile (which includes the Q701), by a fairly large margain.
 
Jul 27, 2013 at 1:55 PM Post #11,713 of 22,065

jerg

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Quote:
This is probably why you should try to listen yourself and not rely on others, no how matter much these guys claim to be "experts". Who is this he-who-should-not-be-named expert?
 
Shouty means resonance in the treble. That's the usual definition most people use here on Head-Fi. The HE-500s have a very clean CSD, like the HE-400 and there is no ringing, resonance/shoutyness to them. As a side note the mids of the HE-500 make the K701 mids sound thin and veiled. The HE-500 has the best treble I've heard, which includes all the phones in my profile (which includes the Q701), by a fairly large margain.

Where exactly did you read that?
 
A shouty characteristic is associated with the midrange, not with treble. And it's often related to an emphasized upper-midrange relative to the rest of the frequency range. In the case of HE500, the mid-midrange rather than the upper-midrange is emphasized, which does give a slight funkiness to the timbre which could be called a "glare" in the mids, that might be what that individual meant.
 
Jul 27, 2013 at 1:55 PM Post #11,714 of 22,065

jmsaxon69

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900x900px-LL-b3f22c20_index.jpeg

 
So before going into it too much, yes JRiver has a digital EQ, it's in their DSP Studio settings.  There is a parametric, but for the sake of this comparison I am trying to keep it simple. First off, the EQ set flat and then switched on or off produced much less of an effect than I anticipated.  Can I hear it? Yes. It's a very thin veil over the whole presentation, VERY subtle and maybe without the HE-400 I could not tell.  I'm impressed, but it's still a degradation in detail, maybe even less dynamic?
 
My test music is "Jazz at the Pawnshop" in 24/88 directly out of the AQ DragonFly, I decided to leave the Lyr out of the equation.  I used "Jazz at the Pawnshop" because not only is it an incredible recording, it is live and the amount of ambient noise and sense of space is amazing, there are glasses clinking,the phone rings every now and again, you can hear people talking, it's truly an amazing listen, music is good too!
 
Okay, so based on this reportedly good frequency response graph of the V2 HE400 as shown above, as others have said it's good to roll off at about 8-15K. I have tried this and tried several different amounts of cut and no matter what i do it kills the detail in the recording, sucks the air out of the room and makes the detail go away.  The EQ has settings at 1K, 3K, 6K, 12K, 14K and 16K (of course there are other settings, these are the ones that are applicable). So, i tried a little bit of a cut (1 or 2 db) at 6K and then got a little more aggressive at the other frequencies, never going more than 4-5 db down. I just don't like what it does to the overall sense of space and detail. It jsut makes it sound dull and 2 dimensional
 
So  what I think I've learned over the last week of ownership of the HE-400 is that system matching is crucial.  I've also learned that my DragonFly is better than my NAD SACD/DVD-Audio player and the Lyr is a fantastic match for the HE-400, like they were made for each other!
 
One other comment I'd like to make to guys/gals that are newer to the hobby: the bass, mids and treble are what you hear the most, the frequency response that we all hear and notice right away.  But then there is also, just as important and maybe even more so to some, the spatial presentation, sound stage, depth, transparency, layering, whatever words you want to use to describe it, I like to describe it as the difference in 2D listening (bass, mid, treble) and 3D listening (space and layering).  It's all important, but some just hear the 2D part and not the 3D part. I'm not sure if some just CAN'T hear it or they just need time to appreciate it. 
 
So I have tried it and I say "no go" for me, not saying anyone else is wrong, but I will leave the EQ option unchecked on my rig.  Can we still have a cyber hug?
 
Jul 27, 2013 at 1:56 PM Post #11,715 of 22,065

M-13

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Quote:
Where exactly did you read that?
 
A shouty characteristic is associated with the midrange, not with treble. And it's often related to an emphasized upper-midrange relative to the rest of the frequency range. In the case of HE500, the mid-midrange rather than the upper-midrange is emphasized, which does give a slight funkiness to the timbre which could be called a "glare" in the mids, that might be what that individual meant.

Oh yes jerg I meant resonance in the upper-midrange. Clearly this is what I meant...
evil_smiley.gif
 (good catch
wink.gif
) I hope you're not this expert... LOL
 
"Funkiness to the timbre" seriously? With the velour pads the timbre is dead on. I'm very sensitive to this. I have no idea what you're talking about but I guess we have different ears. Pleathers? maybe a little timbre issue going on there though...
 
As for where I got my definition for "Shoutiness = upper-mid range resonance/ringing" ; I got them from some pirates that we both know well. Some are no longer allowed here apparently.
wink.gif
 (I have of course confirmed with my own experiences, well my limited experience that is)
 

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